EPA wrong on economics, wrong on science

Last updated: June 10. 2014 8:51AM - 640 Views
U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.)

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The EPA is unleashing a proposal that is widely expected to result in state-based cap-and-trade programs targeting our nation’s existing coal-fired power plants.

From everything we know we can be sure of this: it will be very bad for jobs. The only real question is where on a scale from devastating to a death blow the new rule will fall.

It’s something I have adamantly opposed and fought against, most recently in urging the House of Representatives to block such actions that would adversely affect coal miners and coal mining communities throughout West Virginia and the nation.

At stake is our economy and the livelihoods of our coal miners, our steelworkers, electrical workers, those who keep our freight trains running, and families and businesses that rely on affordable energy from coal.

I will not sit idle in the face of this latest challenge by EPA to our way of life. I will dive into any and all options to block this proposed rule from being finalized.

Taking on this new regulation is just the latest of my efforts to combat the Administration’s war on coal.

On March 6th, the House passed H.R. 3826, the Energy Security and Affordability Act, which is a bill I introduced with Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky to block the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rule for future power plants. I joined forces with Rep. David McKinley on H.R. 2127, a resolution of disapproval that would also put a stop to the NSPS rule.

On May 15th, I sent a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and native West Virginian, expressing my opposition to the pending NSPS regulation aimed at future power plants and the new regulations for existing power plants.

Believing that the agency has vastly underestimated the economic consequences of its proposal and vastly overstated the availability of carbon-reducing technologies on which its proposal hinges, I urged the NSPS rule be returned to the EPA. Further, I urged the Administration to halt promulgation of the regulations for emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA has used circuitous logic to issue its rule. But the agency simply cannot be allowed to paper over the fact that its own actions amount to a big, fat anti-coal thumb on the scale of economic competitiveness. This is a blatant instance of picking winners and losers in the marketplace.

Clearly there are good reasons to question the agency’s economic analysis with respect to the NSPS rule, but, equally, there are glaring reasons to doubt it on the science. The NSPS rule hinges on EPA’s claim that Carbon Capture and Sequestration is an available technological option, ready to be used to solve our emissions challenges. That is hokum, and, as such, it not only undercuts the EPA’s whole argument for its NSPS rule, but it also undermines the public’s trust in an agency that justifies its actions as being driven by science.

Americans have grave concerns about what these rules will mean to them. They worry about how the regulations will affect their jobs and their businesses.

In our government by the People, no program, no law, no regulation can long last without the support of the public. But in its headlong rush to push through these two regulations by its own self-imposed deadline, this Administration is cutting out the fundamental step of garnering the support of the American People.

For all of these reasons, I have called on the Administration not to issue its draft rule on Greenhouse Gas emissions from existing plants, and I have urged the return of the NSPS regulation for future power plants back to the EPA. It’s a rule that needs to go back to the drawing board.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) represents West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. For more information, contact Diane Luensmann at (202) 225-3452, or visit http://rahall.house.gov.

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